The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), Ireland’s competent Authority for the enforcement of Sea-Fisheries Law, have issued a reminder to the public regarding the reported sighting of an angelshark off the West Coast of Ireland. Angelshark is designated a Prohibited Species for all EU and third country vessels in EU waters (EU Regulation 2019/1241). It is prohibited to target; retain; tranship and land the species. The most common sanctions imposed for breaching this regulation include criminal cases for landing prohibited species, points for serious infringements, and so on.
Any commercial fisher who encounters them must release them safely back into the sea as soon as possible,and they must record any catches and discards in their logbook. Some commercial vessels have tagged them over the past decade. These details help with the assessment of the angelshark populations.
Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) are among Ireland’s rarest native (as opposed to migrant) fish. They are critically endangered worldwide. They have been reduced to a couple of areas in Irish waters – Tralee Bay being the most notable. Only between one and a few are seen in Irish Waters in any year. The only place in European Waters where they are found in any significant numbers are in the Canary Islands. They are a flattened shark that looks more like a skate or ray than a “typical” shark. Females can grow to a maximum length of 2.4 m, and the males to 1.8m.
The ban on nets in Tralee Bay and a large area off the Galway and Mayo coast protects endangered species such as angelsharks, as well as crawfish. Please see a link to Fisheries Information Notice: https://www.sfpa.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=LldkarvhACk%3d&portalid=0&resourceView=1
If you have any concerns regarding fisheries control, please contact the SFPA through our Confidential Line channels. Call our Confidential Line on 1800 76 76 76. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete our Confidential Report form.
Angelshark (Squatina squatina)
Photo credit Declan Quigley, SFPA
About the SFPA
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production sectors. It promotes compliance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy, sea-fisheries law and food safety law relating to fish and fish products, verifies compliance and, where necessary, enforces it. Its mandate covers all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, over 2,000 Irish registered fishing vessels wherever they operate, and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood processing companies. The SFPA operates through a network of regional port offices situated at Ireland’s main fishery harbours. For further information visit: www.sfpa.ie